Fear of rejection is a major reason some people fail to act on their desire to start a business. While we can’t deny that rejection is a daily occurrence at every small business (not everyone will purchase your product), you need to accept one thing: You likely are a great sales person. Anyone who has the passion to start a business or the skills to have a leadership role in a small business likely has the ability to be a super sales person.

What’s missing is the understanding of how a sales cycle works or how to give your product or service a chance to be considered by a prospective client or customer. Here are some things to consider when trying to improve your shot at making a sale. The one thing they have in common is you being you, not pretending to be what you think you should be.

1. Be the one in your market, location or industry who is the connector, always aware of who needs help and those who could provide it.


While someone may avoid taking calls that sound like they’re going to be sales pitches, they look forward to calls they believe will have some free advice on how they might fill a job, solve a problem or grab an opportunity. Even if your connecting does not involve an immediate transaction for your company, it sets up a future opportunity where you’ve provided help and insight to those who will likely be making a purchasing or contract decision.

2. Convert your sales hype into research help.


The main reason cold calling is a waste of time is that it is 100 percent based on being able to control factors over which a sales person has no control: the timing of a customer’s journey. The most likely indicator that people are in the market to purchase something is their active research around a topic. That’s the promise of search advertising. Yet look at your sales materials. Are they designed to assist a customer in researching the factors they need to consider before purchasing something? Or does it assume the customer has already made the decision to buy and is trying to decide between you and your competitor?

3. People don’t buy products or features. They buy outcomes and solutions.

Talk in ways that help the prospective owner envision themselves in a new reality where they have met the need your product or service will provide. Does it work? Have you ever seen a TV ad for a state lottery? Even when the chances are a million-to-one that the viewer will be a winner, the message always is focused on some perfect new reality. (Sidenote: In your case, a customer’s chances for success should have much better odds.)

4. Successful sales presentations begin with the phrase, “Let me tell you a story …”

Don’t drone on with statistics and lists of features. And leave off that list of awards and credentials of employees. A more compelling approach is to weave those credentials and awards into a story about how another customer was seeking a solution very similar to the prospects and how you were able to assist them in providing such a solution.

5. Don’t play on the field chosen by your competition.



No matter how special you are, the customer will have other options and choices. In nearly every situation, competitors will have strengths and weaknesses that are different from one another. The challenge you face is establishing the field on which the competition for the sale or contract takes place. Is the competitor larger? Then compete on person-to-person service. Does the competitor have more types of services? Then compete on specialization.

6. The prospect has heard it all.

You know that phone call script you’re trying to use to get an appointment with a potential buyer? She heard that pitch an hour ago — or, at least that’s what you need to believe. If you have purchased a lead list, she heard it 15 minutes ago. Be original and find a better way.

7. If you don’t believe in the solution your product provides, you’ll never convince a customer you do.

How can you sell something you don’t believe in? You can’t. Being an effective sales person means demonstrating the kind of empathy that warms up customers. They know if you are being honest. They know when you have experienced the success your product can provide.

(Originally posted on SmallBusiness.com, Jan 27, 2014)

Related Articles